2018-2019 Northern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine Composition announced

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has just announced its recommended formulation for influenza vaccines to be used in the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19. This follows  a  3-day WHO Consultation with Advisers from WHO CCs and WHO ERLs based on year-round surveillance by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).

The periodic replacement of virus strains contained in influenza vaccine is necessary because of the constant evolution of influenza viruses, which can change their antigenic and genetic characteristics. 

It is recommended that quadrivalent vaccines for use in the 2018-2019 northern hemisphere influenza season contain the following:

- an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
- a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria/2/87 lineage); and
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage).

It is recommended that the influenza B virus component of trivalent vaccines for use in the 2018-2019 northern hemisphere influenza season be a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus of the B/Victoria/2/87-lineage.

Available candidate vaccine viruses following the above recommendation and the full technical reports can be found at:

In addition, the review on vaccine viruses for zoonotic influenza vaccine development is updated through the WHO Consultation:

Available candidate vaccine viruses of seasonal influenza vaccines and of other subtypes of influenza for pandemic preparedness purposes are listed at:

Updated 27th February 2018